The saving of Khayelitsha’s Warrior dog

It doesn’t say much for humankind when a stray dog is buried alive in the grounds of a school. And when this cruel act was carried out on the orders of the school’s principal, one wonders what message this sends to the children being educated under the supervision of that principal. Who then sacks the school cleaner who dared to alert an animal welfare organisation to the plight of the dog.

It does, however, say a lot of the compassion of Bukelwa Mbulawa, the humble cleaner and sole breadwinner of her family who is in sufficiently in contact with her conscience to blow the whistle on her heartless colleagues.

And it says a great deal about the good works of Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha that they are doing everything in their power to heal the crippled body and traumatised mind of Warrior. Hats off to Jane, Gemma, Daryl and all of the others at Mdzananda who perform miracles daily with limited equipment to save countless township dogs which don’t enjoy the comforts of your or my lucky Fido.

My friend Helen, who has volunteered to help Mdzananda, and I went out to Khayelitsha yesterday to give some assistance… and to check on the progress of Warrior, the brave dog which has thrown the spotlight on how animals are often treated in the hard environment of South Africa’s townships…

This is Warrior. She's now in very good hands... but she is in bad shape and has a long way to go. She barks in terror whenever a stranger approaches her cage...

Let's zoom in on the eye of a Warrior. I'm sure you will see the distrust, the pain, the fear of a dog which was buried alive. Simply because its presence annoyed a man in power, a man who is a role model for the children he is responsible for educating.

Warrior barked in terrible fear when I went close to her cage. Vet Gemma says she doesn’t trust males…

... but Helen, who has a beautiful way with dogs, had a chat and managed to calm her down.

Warrior is, of course, not alone. Countless dogs lose limbs after being knocked over by cars in the township. And this little guy is just one...

Geordie, a pointer-ridgeback cross, is another who was run over. He faces life on three legs but has a gentle temperament and loving nature.

Gemma tells me that is almost impossible to rehome dogs with just three legs. There is a stigma attached to owning dogs that don’t have the full complement of limbs.

Go on. Say it. "Aaaaah..." And, "ag shame!"

So, when Helen was done doing a full makeover of the clinic’s charity shop and I had held dogs firmly in place while Gemma treated their wounds, we went off to do a “mobile” at a squatter camp. There we helped with giving the community’s dogs their routine injections and rounding up those which are taken away in a cage-trailer for sterilisation…

Helen fell for this cutie-pup...

 

... while my job was to squirt two shots of deworming muti into the mouths of a legion of hounds.

All the while, we were watched intently by the children, happy that their pets were being kept healthy…

And I somehow knew that this little character would provide us with a comedy moment…

And he didn't disappoint!

This is how caring for the health of animals in townships looks…

And Helen and I can’t thank the team at Mdzananda enough for allowing us the opportunity to help in some small way… it was a humbling and rewarding experience.

They - and the animals they treat and save - need your support...

Please help our unsung heroes.